Leptospirosis cases on the increase in Saint Lucia

Press Release:-The Ministry of Health and Wellness has noted a reported increase in the cases of Leptospirosis. Though increases in the number cases of Leptospirosis is not unusual after periods of heavy rains or flooding it remains an issue of concern to health authorities.

Leptospirosis is a disease caused by a bacteria which can be found in some animals which include rats, cattle, pigs, horses and dogs. Persons can become ill if they are in contact with urine, water, food or soil through breaks in the skin, mouth, eyes or nose. Symptoms can range  from a mild flu-like illness with high fever, chills, headache, muscle pains, red eye, sore throat and occasionally rash which may worsen with time.  In the more severe phase the disease can affect the liver causing jaundice(which is dark urine and the yellowing of the white part of the eye and the skin), and anaemia. If left untreated the disease can affect organs such as the brain, kidneys, lungs, and other internal organs. In some instances this may result in death.

This condition can be treated effectively with antibiotics if diagnosed on time. Seeking medical care early when these symptoms are noticed can prevent the disease from worsening.

Persons at greatest risk of getting Leptospirosis are farmers and agricultural workers, sanitation workers and sewer workers. However, anyone exposed to rat contaminated water and soil is  also at risk of contracting the disease.

The Ministry of Health has an established Rodent Reduction Programme which will be further enhanced to respond to the current increase in Leptospirosis. The ministry will also be working with a number of agencies including Ministry of Agriculture, farmer organizations and local government in order to heighten awareness of the disease to persons most at risk of contracting the disease.

The Ministry of Health advises all to take the following measures to reduce the risk of becoming ill with Leptospirosis:

  • Wear protective clothing, shoes, gloves to avoid coming into contact with contaminated surfaces, soil, water source or food
  • Avoid contact with surfaces and water sources that may be contaminated with rat urine
  • Keep your home and surroundings free of garbage
  • Avoid leaving food where rats can get to it.
  • Keep food in covered containers
  • Cover opened wounds properly

It is important to visit your nearest health facility if there is any suspicion you might have been exposed to Leptospirosis.

For further information, please contact the acting National Epidemiologist, Dr. Gemma Chery, at telephone numbers 468-5325 and 285-4773.

12 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    November 1, 2017 at 8:08 am Reply

    They’re just following the trend started in Government.

  2. Anonymous
    November 1, 2017 at 9:13 am Reply

    New Testament Verse of the Day:
    He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David.
    – Luke 1: 32

  3. Anonymous
    November 1, 2017 at 9:15 am Reply

    Rats are not so important, why don’t we fix the pot holes on the secondary roads. To my understanding a small percentage was added to the gas tax to fix roads but where is it going to?

    1. Anonymous
      November 1, 2017 at 9:39 am Reply

      To the minister’s pocket and subisidies for hotels

    2. ...
      November 1, 2017 at 10:08 am Reply

      Wait, we are talking about health and wellness of people. While both are important, comparing the two is a no no.

  4. Curious
    November 1, 2017 at 9:46 am Reply

    Anonymous they are no longer pot holes. Craters they are and embarrassingly in some of the main roads off the highway. You mean government will feel so embarrassed if they put at least some crusher run or quarry waste in craters. Better than nothing. Shameful the state of our roads.

    But St. Lucia has a high rat population especially in the city. Dr Cherry instead of talking get your minister to take to cabinet exemption of government taxes on rat traps and bait. The situation is serious enough. Also the article refers to early detection and if diagnosed on time. So Dr. Cherry where is testing for lepto done. Still Trinidad? Taking ages for results. A rat infested country in 2017 get the lab at VH to secure the necessary testing means so tests can be done here. You all too must play your part.

  5. Anonymous
    November 1, 2017 at 12:17 pm Reply

    You mean St. Lucia don’t have enough cats. Or the cats have befriended the rats and mouse.

  6. Jay
    November 1, 2017 at 12:36 pm Reply

    Be vigilant regarding your health and use wisdom.

    Leptospirosis: What You Need to KnowLast updated
    Leptospirosis is a relatively rare bacterial infection that affects people and animals. It can pass from animals to humans when an unhealed break in the skin is exposed to water or soil that has been contaminated with animal urine. It is not usually transmitted between people.

    Leptospirosis is caused by a strain of the Leptospira bacterium, and it can progress to potentially fatal conditions such as Weil’s disease or meningitis.

    The bacteria can enter the body through broken skin, the eyes, or mucous membranes. Animals that transmit the infection to humans include rats, skunks, opossums, foxes, and raccoons.

    Leptospirosis is more common in tropical areas, where it affects 10 or more people in every 100,000. In temperate climates, the incidence is estimated between 0.1 and 1 per 100,000. In an epidemic, it can affect 100 or more in every 100,000.

    People traveling to tropical areas have a greater risk of exposure.

  7. Douce
    November 1, 2017 at 2:45 pm Reply

    The powers that be should go on a rat elimination / desstruction campaigne to reduce the rat population in St Lucia

  8. Douce
    November 1, 2017 at 2:49 pm Reply

    Auto correct. campaign and destruction

  9. Anonymous
    November 2, 2017 at 7:07 am Reply

    I am currently visiting St Lucia and am in shock to see the amount of garbage around the Island especially Castries. I was on the beach and met a few young men quarreling how they have to clean their area where they set-up their work every day. I also understand tthe cleam-up and trash pick up is only Wednesdays. Alot Tourists come on the beach early and the trashh is þe first thing the greets you? People take the trash from the mouth and hands on to the streets and on the sand. A lot of garbage all behind buildings and the CDC.S of course we must have health issues if the continues. A program MUST be set up to address the garbage crisis and St Luciaians must STOP throwing their trash everywhere

  10. Anonymous
    November 2, 2017 at 7:07 am Reply

    It could be the high level of opposums consume among country side persons as a custom because its a delicate meat for most and creole month as well, not necessarily spread by rats as most would think.

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